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Labour of Months 

After the Christmas holidays, we have begun 2020 with the first Culture Club event of the year: Jenny Bawtree came to see us to tell us all about her project ‘The Labours of the Months’: a trip around Italy from Aosta to Otranto, to discover medieval art by means of the numerous representations of the work done by peasants during the different months of the year, drawn together in a book that Jenny is about to send to the press.

Jenny Bawtree is an English lady who arrived in Italy more than fifty years ago, thanks to her love of Tuscany; after having worked as a teacher in Florence, she opened a holiday farm house in Montevarchi, one of the first in Italy. For the magazine Terra Nuova Edizioni, she produced ‘the Book of Pietro’, translated also into English, and at the moment she is working on the story of the centre, in addition to following her love of art history.

Jenny showed the participants of the Culture Club evening numerous slides to illustrate the work that the peasants did during the months of the year, helping them to notice the differences in style and the various techniques used, in many different Italian churches, concentrating above all on the one closest to us, the Pieve of Santa Maria Assunta in Arezzo. Sipping a glass of locally produced rosé wine everybody listened with great interest and concentration, learning too, new vocabulary to describe agricultural procedures. When we next stumble upon a Labours of the Months whilst out visiting ancient monuments, we will undoubtedly view it with far more understanding, thanks to everything we learned. Thanks to Jenny we all now have a far greater interest in this fascinating aspect of medieval art.



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